MANATEE -- The CEO of one of the world's largest independent distributors of electronic components has purchased the biggest piece of property put on the Manatee County market in recent memory.
Michael Galinski, founder and owner of St. Petersburg-based multinational America II Inc., paid $13 million to the family of a former U.S. Army general for 4,515 acres near Myakka River State Park. The property, sold Sept. 16, consists of 13 tax parcels that are contiguous and lie around Clay Gully, Sugarbowl and Coker Gully roads.
The buy is the single largest purchase of Manatee County land in the past two years in terms of total acreage.
The deed of sale shows Galinski, using the corporate name Blackbeard's Ranch LLC, purchased 13 pieces of land from Mason Realty Florida Properties of Sarasota, a company owned and operated by the sons of the late Raymond E. Mason Jr., a World War II veteran and longtime member of the board of trustees at New College who died in 2010.
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In addition to buying land, Galinski purchased half of the 1,988 acres of subsurface rights Mason Realty owns, according to records. Galinski said he owns all the mining rights on his new property.
Portions of the eastern edge of the huge property borders about 20,000 acres owned or controlled by phosphate mining and fertilizer company Mosaic. Rob Brown, Manatee County's environmental protection division manager, said some of the parcels purchased intersect the Bone Valley, a part of the county known for its phosphate content.
No lands in southeast Manatee County are currently permitted for mining operations, Brown said.
Talking about the purchase Tuesday, Galinski, 50, said he has no current plans to pursue a mining operation on his land. He said he bought the land because it is rare for so much acreage to come to the market.
"It's just a gorgeous piece of property," he said from his St. Petersburg offices. "I just can't see another piece of land coming up for that price in that area that borders a state park."
Galinski said he plans to hold onto the land long term. He will use it for a ranching operation, and expects the portion bordering the Myakka State Park to become a conservation easement sometime in the future. The southern border of his land abuts the park, he said.
Galinski is no stranger to the Manatee County real estate market. Prior to buying into the southeast corner of the county, he built a portfolio of more than 2,000 acres since 2001. His most recent previous purchase in July was 295 acres bordering Interstate 75 in Palmetto. He paid $2.65 million. That land, he said, is suitable for building housing.
According to Sarasota attorney Robert Johnson, the Mason family ownership of Manatee property dates back to the 1940s, when Robert Mason Jr.'s father began buying land. Johnson, who represented the Masons in the land sale, said Robert Mason Jr.'s involvement began in 1982 when he bought several parcels from Julia Parrish. By the time he purchased the last pieces in 1994, Mason had spent about $1.5 million for the acreage sold to Galinski, according to county land records.
The acreage involved in the transaction is unprecedented in recent years. Mike Johns, the county's director of appraisal services, said the largest recent land transaction in Manatee County was a 900-plus acre sale last year. Outside of that and a couple sales in the 600-acre range, Johns said nothing he and his staff have seen over the past few years comes close.
Homebuilder Pat Neal, a regular buyer of large tracts of Manatee County land for the past 40-plus years, said he can think of no comparable land transactions in recent history.
Galinski has land holdings outside of Manatee County, particularly in St. Petersburg. He said he is looking forward to taking an active role in operating a ranch on his new property, if for no other reason than to get away from his day job. "In Manatee County, it seems like you're thousands of miles away," he said.
Galinski declined to disclose the value of his company or his personal net worth. He did say America II employs about 600 people worldwide. The company maintains a 230,000-square-foot warehouse in St. Petersburg and several thousand square feet of warehousing in four other nations, including Japan and the United Kingdom.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.